Monday, May 11, 2015

No Capital Punishment for Deflategate

    I don't think the NFL will do much about Deflategate.   The reason is that the NFL is guilty of a few things also.
    First and foremost, they have a rule but no punishment associated with it.  What kind of rule is that?   If they had wanted to "send a strong message" as many have suggested, they should have said what the penalty was going to be.  
        Second, the NFL did not log the pressure of the balls prior to the game.  If 12.5 psi is so important to people, they ought to measure it to see if the pressure is right.  Moreover they need to decide how they are going to measure it, with what pressure gauge and so on, or otherwise they will get different answers depending on who does the measurement.  Two officials made measurements at the Indianapolis game, and they differed by as much as 0.4 psi.   That's okay for inflating tires, but if 12.5 psi is really some cherished number to fans, they need more accuracy.   
        Third, the NFL was completely unprepared to enforce the rule. They had no procedure in place what to do.  Basically, the officials just said, "well, that's interesting," and sent the matter back to headquarters.  In baseball, if a pitcher is caught doctoring the baseball, they throw him out of the game on the spot.    In this case, they were unprepared for anything other than to let Brady continue to play while they referred the issue to the Commissioner's office later.  That little fiasco is on the NFL.  
     Fouth,  what is normal to expect after a bunch of 300 pound guys fall on the darn thing? If the pressure were to decrease in a ball during the game, what action do we want the officials to take?  
        Fifth, nobody has any idea whether other NFL teams have violated ball-related regs.  They just have not paid attention.  Again, that is the NFL's fault.
      Thus,  I think if I were the NFL commissioner I would do two things:
        First, thanks to the Patriots proving that teams can not be trusted, there now needs to be a layer of regulation and oversight to monitor the football and other equipment specifications.  The NFL will probably have to hire 100 or so specialists because of what the Patriots did.  That is going to be a massive headache and will cost big time money, and for that reason I think the Patriots should be levied a massive fine to help pay for this nonsense.
       As for Brady himself over-doctoring the footballs, there should be some sort of on-the-field penalty as well. But as I argue above the current system is unworkable, so I think it is difficult to assess a major penalty.  I think it is thus comparable to the use of stickum or some other illegal tweaking of game equipment, so I think he may be suspended for a game or so.   
     On the field, this will not harm the Patriots a bit.  They are interested to see how hotshot new kid Jimmy Garoppolo can play anyway.  I think he'll be good if not great if he gets a chance.   If they suspend Brady for 8 games, that would keep him fresh for the playoffs more than anything else.    


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